INNOV8 Lafayette: The Big Picture
Friday, April 19, through Friday, April 26
By Chris Allain, Vidox Motion Imagery CEO, co-founder and co-chair of INNOV8 Lafayette 2013
INNOV8 Lafayette, an eight-day festival of innovation and creativity, rallies the efforts of scores of volunteers to celebrate, showcase, inspire and encourage innovation and entrepreneurship. Nearly 60 events and exhibits at more than a dozen venues offer opportunities to spark ideas, to network, and to be entertained. Events range from a behind-the-scenes look at the Hollywood special effects wizardry of Pixel Magic to a conversation and Q&A with Rock and Roll Hall of Fame musician, Gerry McGee, from workshops on local education, to a live demonstration of high-bandwidth telemedicine. Investors and entrepreneurs will gather at The Vault, a live shark-tank style pitch by innovators competing for a portion of a $150,000 investment fund. At UL’s CajunCodeFest, programmers compete for a $25,000 prize in a 36-hour coding marathon aimed at creating an innovative health care solution.
INNOV8 provides innovation templates for entrepreneurs, artists, educators, technologists, and health care professionals. Events are organized into four tracks: Entrepreneurship, Technology and Health Care, Education, and Arts and Culture. Through the generosity of volunteers and sponsors, most events are free and open to the public, although a few are by invitation only or charge admission. While numerous community groups and businesses are producing these events, INNOV8 provides substantial organizational and logistical support and a robust marketing and promotional campaign, thanks in large part to generous media sponsors.
Venues for INNOV8 2013 are located throughout Lafayette, including the UL Research Park and Cajundome area, UL campus, Downtown, Southwest Louisiana Community College and more. The Acadiana Center for the Arts will host events each day throughout INNOV8 and function as an operations center. A kiosk at AcA will offer visitors a program guide, INNOV8 T-shirts, and an opportunity to become a supporter.
The Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce created INNOV8 Lafayette as a community service project to encourage innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship and to spread the word about Lafayette. Phenomenal community support has allowed this effort to flourish and grow faster than its founders thought possible. Individuals, businesses, civic groups, nonprofit organizations, economic development groups, the university and all levels of government have stepped up in support. The success of INNOV8 is a testament to the generosity, selflessness, and vision of these leaders and this community. Once again, Lafayette distinguishes itself as a community that works together.
INNOV8 was envisioned as a compliment to Lafayette’s premier music festival, and winds down just as Festival International kicks into high gear. INNOV8 attracts visitors and businesses, and provides another reason to see Lafayette as a destination. And when visitors really see Lafayette, it makes an impression. INNOV8 offers a means to expand the brand and engage, retain and attract young professionals and the coveted creative class.
INNOV8 begins on Friday, April 19, and ends on Friday, April 26. We urge you to attend as many of our terrific events as possible but want to be sure iOpener is on your list. On Saturday, April 20, LITE and UL will host this open-house style event showcasing the innovation and technology happening each day at LITE, the UL Research Park and at the university itself. The free, one-day open house, is an opportunity for the entire community to visit the Research Park and the UL main campus to see presentations and exhibits, including new projects completed within the last year. LITE, Pixel Magic, Picard Center, Abdalla Hall, Academy of Interactive Entertainment, UL Lafayette Engineering and more will offer displays and presentations. In addition to a behind-the-scenes look at the special effects of Hollywood movies, you will get a chance to play a new, unreleased interactive video game, to drive underwater robots and to operate the human-powered crane capable of lifting tons. The full agenda can be found at www.lite3d.com/iopener.
Visit innnov8lafayette.com, become a Friend of INNOV8, review the events (schedule is on the following pages), and plan to join us for eight days in April to celebrate innovation in Lafayette.
Innovations and Pathways in Education
Wednesday, April 24, 6-8 p.m., NP Moss Annex, 801 Mudd Ave.
By Margaret Trahan, United Way of Acadiana president/CEO, and Greg Davis, Cajundome director
Trahan and Davis are members of the Lafayette Parish Public Education Stakeholders Council (LaPESC)
Innovations and Pathways in Education will highlight the Lafayette Parish School System’s 100% In - 100% Out Plan via a compelling visualization model created by the Cecil J. Picard Center for Child Development and Lifelong Learning. With statistical accuracy, the visualization model highlights the movement of children through the parish educational system and beyond, acting as a reality check on what is happening to the children of Lafayette Parish. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Pat Cooper presents the 100% In - 100% Out Plan as a living document with the goal of changing the scenarios depicted. Dr. Billy Stokes of UL’s Picard Center co-presents.
A rejection of mediocrity, The 100% In - 100% Out Plan was designed to ensure that every child has the resources and support needed to learn and succeed in school. Created by LPSS with guidance and input from a dozen task forces that involved community members and educators, the model offers transparency and accountability, and has a proven record of success in transforming other school systems.
21st century technology within the deteriorating infrastructure of 20th century facilities is a conundrum that faces the Lafayette Parish School System as it looks its technological future square in the eye. Led by Dr. Steve Landry and Douglas Menefee, the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce has taken a good look under the hood to uncover the pending realities and possible solutions. The chamber will unveil the LPSS Technology Peer Review Findings and Recommendations on Monday, April 22, at the Southwest Louisiana Community College.
Bob Miller, Entrepreneur in Residence at the Opportunity Machine, in conjunction with the Lafayette Parish School System and the Manufacturing Partnership of Louisiana, will facilitate a training session April 23 from 1:30-5:30 p.m. for area teachers in the Innovation Engineering Management System. This training is in preparation for 2014’s First Cajunuity Brain Games Competition, where local schools will compete in a one-day event during INNOV8 2014. At the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year, teams will receive problem scenarios and use Innovation Engineering Management System techniques to develop a solution. This event will showcase the solutions developed by the student teams in a 2014 competition that crowns a Brain Game “Innovator of the Year Team.”
INNOV8 Art @ Culture
By Dr. Gerd Wuestemann, INNOV8 co-founder and co-chair, AcA executive director
Art and culture are the lifeblood of our region, what makes Acadiana so special. They are our “other” great natural resource, our biggest tourist attraction and perhaps the most compelling reason for people to move here in the first place.
Art and culture are what makes Lafayette not Baton Rouge. It is not something we do — embedded in our daily lives, something that perfect strangers become immersed in from the moment they land here. This unique and indigenous local culture is driven by perhaps the highest concentration of creative people you will find in any community.
In envisioning INNOV8, we recognized that creativity and entrepreneurship are two sides of the same coin. The problem is that artists and entrepreneurs rarely speak the same language, even if they share similar goals and face similar challenges. INNOV8 helps to connect the dots, to look at the other side of that coin, to learn from one another, to develop smarter business models and increase both financial and social profit to all.
For INNOV8 2013, we designated tracks to better identify the nature of specific events. The goal remains the same: get the creative and business drivers in our community together and the sky’s the limit for the future of Acadiana.
AcA — as our region’s cultural hub — wanted to be at the heart of many of these activities. From a series of sessions for creative professionals, ranging from career development to intellectual property law; to our daily entrepreneurially slanted Launch Hours, to a weekend multi-state theater festival, to a film screening and panel discussion with Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, AcA will be full of activity within the creative sector.
Evenings throughout the week will showcase special events, from the inaugural INNOV8 Awards to an evening with pitch-guru Doug Hall, to the kick-off to CajunCodeFest, to our own real-life pitch fest “The Vault,” where successful inventors could walk away with $150,000. Every night at AcA will present a special, creative and fun event.
Join us at INNOV8 and help us celebrate our incredible creative drivers and local entrepreneurial infrastructure.
Monday, April 22, through Friday, April 26, 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.; Acadiana Center for the Arts
By Zachary Barker, Acadiana Sports Leagues president/owner; the705 young professionals president
(Series sponsored by the705 and Acadiana Entrepreneur Group)
The other day I was sitting in a coffee shop between meetings when I overheard a conversation at the table next to me. They were successful business people, and it seemed to me they had no idea what they were talking about. They rambled through a gambit of rationalizations — the economy, weak customers, undercutting competitors, the government — for why sales were down and employees were failing.The Launch Hour series of INNOV8 is focused on helping people succeed through various topics focused on three basic principles: plan, execute, measure.
Most business and community leaders — owners, managers and staff — fail because they are unclear on what to do, when it is due, who is doing it and if it is being completed. The Launch Hour lineup will provide a diverse insight into balancing fundamental success habits with modern uses of social networks, both on- and off-line:
Monday – Young Vision. Master Plans only work with the buy-in from those who will live with the results 15 years from now. Engage with Acadiana’s emerging leaders to discuss the requirements for success in our community from economy to lifestyle.
Tuesday – Lessons from Business. Success is not exclusive to those born wealthy, privately educated or those possessing special talents. Effective business administration can be taught and learned. In this session, attendees will gain direct access to successful Acadiana business owners and learn from their insights.
Wednesday – Developing a One Page Strategic Plan. Attendees walk through a step-by-step strategy many successful business owners and managers use every day, including the process of defining core values, purpose, 12-month planning, “90 day burns” and how to create and implement accountability management tools.
Thursday – Social Entrepreneurism. A buzz-word in the business community, Social Entrepreneurism is any business that uses groups socially to grow a business. This can mean doing good for a social community, achieving capital funding through crowdsourcing or even building a community that is, in itself, a business.
Friday – ALL IN. Today’s emerging talent becomes tomorrows leaders. Join ALL IN as leaders from various social groups in Acadiana come together to tackle our most challenging issues, including public education, taxation, race relations, economic growth, traffic and more. Attendees will be empowered by discussion and access to join these leaders to help drive these critical initiatives.
Wednesday, April 24, through Friday, April 26
(6 p.m. Wednesday to 7 p.m. Friday), Cajundome
By David Callecod, LGMC president/CEO, and Douglas Menefee, Schumacher Group CIO
INNOV8 Lafayette helps take creativity to another level. Bringing together such a wide range of talents creates endless possibilities, and drawing people from all over to INNOV8 exposes Lafayette for the idea hot bed that it has become.
CajunCodeFest 2.0 is the signature event for the Center for Business & Information Technologies at UL Lafayette. This competitive event combines innovation, ideation, collaboration and our entrepreneurial spirit to focus on challenges and opportunities associated with health care. The event creates an opportunity for software developers, scientists, technology advocates, and physicians to design and create real life application solutions that could be introduced into the market. This year’s competition brings an opportunity for Lafayette to generate ideas and incubate forward thinking technology solutions to help transform the health care industry through the innovative use of technology.
Because of our robust telecommunications, business, and educational infrastructure, Lafayette is viewed by many as the ideal test bed for next generation health care solutions. The competing teams have the opportunity to start and grow a software product, and the ideas and concepts created during this event will establish Lafayette as a forward-thinking community.
Lafayette General Medical Center and Schumacher Group are aligned with the community’s desire to be part of a disruptive change and have committed resources to this endeavor.
We recognize that CajunCodeFest is an opportunity to create a mind-meld where Lafayette’s wildcatter culture collides with innovation and opportunity. The result reinforces our role in “thought leadership” as it relates to improving how patients experience the health care system.
Bryan Sivak, chief technology officer at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Farzad Mostashari, national coordinator for health information technology for the U.S., will be an active part of this year’s event. Both are considered distinguished health care innovation leaders and are excited about the opportunity to collaborate with participants and community leaders.
We are excited to see our community and the legions of volunteers help foster the next generation of software developers by creating an environment in which start-ups can thrive.
First place receives a $25,000 cash prize and an automatic entry to the invite-only National Health Datapalooza, held in Washington, D.C., June 3-4.
Rackspace to Robots — the Adventures of an Entrepreneur-Investor
Thursday, April 25, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Hilton Lafayette (tickets: $40, table of eight: $350)
By Morris Miller, investor, lawyer, salesman, prolific entrepreneur and Xenex Disinfection Systems CEO
(Sponsored by IND Monthly, IberiaBank and LEDA)
To establish or change corporate culture starts at 50,000 feet by stating how you want prospects and customers to perceive you and your company. You may freely adopt statements from companies you admire or create your own. At Rackspace Hosting, a company I co-founded that now has a market cap of more than $4 billion, we wanted customers to have a world class customer service experience similar to the Ritz Carlton, Lexus or Federal Express. We called it “Fanatical Support.”
However, not every company has to strive for a high level of customer service as its differentiator. There are hugely successful restaurant chains like McDonald’s, Subway, P.F. Chang’s where their products are inexpensive, ubiquitous or savory, respectively, that have good customer service but differentiate themselves on something other than customer service.
If, however, customer service is part of your difference, then you can dive from 50,000 feet right down to the short grass and have staff eliminate “no problem” from its lexicon of daily language. The origin or popularization of “no problem” is unclear. Perhaps it was an adoption of the ’60s counter cultural response to formality. You may remember restaurant signs that said, “no shoes, no shirt.....no problem.”
“No problem” is usually a response to “thank you.” Better responses to “thank you” include: “you’re welcome,” “my pleasure” and “absolutely.”
Eliminating no problem will positively impact your culture. Within your company it sets a standard for service to other employees. Suddenly employees realize when they have asked for and received a favor. While many office tasks and favors are quick to do or uncomplicated, they deserve proper thanks. Discounting your own effort made with a “no problem” devalues the your time and sends the wrong message to the service requester.
From a customer or prospect’s point of view, there is no request they can make that is a “problem.” Eliminating “no problem” allows your employees to see customer requests for what they are — a chance for your employees to deliver your product or service with enthusiasm, zeal and a heartfelt desire to please customers you fight so hard to attract. “My pleasure.”
(As part of IND Monthly’s Lecture Series, presented by IberiaBank, Miller, an investor in golfballs.com who lives in San Antonio, will deliver an outsider investor’s viewpoint as part of this special INNOV8 event.)